- Grippy and stiff Vibram soles for better power transfer
- EVA midsole provides comfort on longer rides
- Directional tread at heal and toe for added traction off the bike
- Reinforced toe & heal bumper for added protection
- Synthetic leather upper easy to clean
- Lace lock with pull tab secures laces
- Extra lace hole to create a heal lock
- Light weight
- Fit true to size
- Limited color choices
- Review Update 8/27/19: Bontrager released Battleship Blue for men’s and Gravel/Teal for women’s
How Obtained: Company sample
RBR Advertiser: No
Available: Online or Retail
Sizes: 36–48 (men’s); 36-43 (women’s)
Colors: Men’s – Black w/red laces or Red/Black; Women’s – Black w/purple laces
Weight: 725g for the pair (size 42)
Great Traction On/Off the Bike
Bontrager’s Flatline MTB shoes have a stiff grippy Vibram sole with a uniform tread pattern, so no matter where your foot hits the pedal, it sticks. This translated to good power transfer and no slippage. I received my pair last fall and have enjoyed using them on my fat bike with flat pedals.
There’s directional tread at the heal and toe for added traction off the bike and walking up trail inclines or descents. Being surefooted off the bike made for a much better trail experience.
Both the toe and heal have added protection for extended durability and to protect your feet from branches and rocks.
Fit, Comfort and Adjustability
Flatlines are available in both men’s (36-48) or women’s (36-43) sizing and I found them to be true to size. I wear a men’s 45, but I have narrow feet, by wearing a little thicker sock I made up for the added width. Some customer posted reviews stating these shoes run small. If in doubt, I suggest consulting Trek’s sizing chart or stop by your local Trek store for a fitting.
The Flatline shoes use laces which don’t provide micro adjustments, like a Boa type closure, but worked well to secure my foot. If you need it, there’s an extra eyelet like on sneakers that let’s you lace the shoe to lock in the heal to avoid slippage or blisters.
An elastic lace lock band with pull tab is incorporated to tuck the laces under for safe keeping so not to catch on anything. As you can see from the above picture the laces are quite long and probably could be shorter on future models.
Both the men’s and women’s versions come in black with the laces providing that pop of color. If you want to match your bike frame to your shoes, just swap out the laces for the appropriate color. However, it would be nice if the shoes came in another color.
The synthetic uppers have pluses and minuses. The plus is they are easy to clean and keep your feet fairly dry. However, on hot days my feet did get a bit warm.
For flat pedal shoes, the Flatlines are lightweight. According to Bontrager a pair of size 42 weigh 725 grams.
To extend the functionality of these shoes, they are comfortable both on and off the bike. The padding around the ankle and the roomie rounded toe box add to the comfort. They are great for post-ride errands or out for lunch with friends. I even met a guy who wears his Flatlines all day while he works at the bike shop.
If you’re in the market for flat pedal shoes, take a look at a pair of Bontrager’s Flatlines. They’re both comfortable and grippy which is an ideal combination when riding with flat pedals. The stiff sole provides good power transfer and the synthetic leather upper cleans up easily. Available in men’s and women’s, Flatlines are competitively priced and offers durability for years of use.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.